Clayco’s real estate arm taps Ciere Boatright to lead community development

In her time at the organization, Boatright has worked on high-profile commercial and industrial projects aimed at creating resources and opportunities in underserved neighborhoods. She helped bring a Mariano’s grocery story to Bronzeville, as well as a 75,000-square-foot Gotham Greens rooftop greenhouse and Whole Foods warehouse to a 180-acre development in Pullman. The Pullman Park development generated more than $450 million in new investments and nearly 1,800 jobs, Boatright said.

Boatright, who starts her new role at CRG in September, said she will spearhead development, planning and community engagement for the firm’s high-impact projects in Chicago. She will oversee securing land entitlements, public and private financing, as well as negotiating contracts with the city and other community organizations.

“I’m excited about this opportunity because it allows me to do this impactful work in more neighborhoods,” said Boatright, 38. “If I think about the legacy that I’d like to leave, it’s transforming communities, transforming neighborhoods, transforming cities in a meaningful and equitable way.”

She will also take a place on the leadership team of Clayco’s Chicago Business Unit by leading its innovation and inclusion efforts. Boatright said she will develop and launch a program designed to mentor and support aspiring commercial developers of color. She will additionally help establish a national philanthropic program across active CRG markets.

“We’re trying to expand our focus in the communities where we work, so more diversity, more inclusion, building up internally and externally,” said David Reifman, a CRG partner and president of Clayco’s Chicago operations. Reifman came to CRG in 2019 after serving as Chicago’s commissioner of planning and development under former Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration.

“I was actively pursuing someone who could play that role in the Chicago business unit,” he said. “This was the right platform for (Boatright) and for us.”

In July, CRG announced it was raising a $350 million fund to invest in industrial projects across the U.S. The fund will be used to develop $1.5 billion worth of industrial properties over the next three years in major markets, including Chicago. To date, the firm says it has developed more than 8,500 acres of land and delivered over 200 million square feet of commercial, industrial, institutional and multifamily assets exceeding $12 billion in value.

A Chicago native, Boatright said she developed an interest in community development from her own experience growing up in the South Side neighborhood of Greater Grand Crossing.

“We left our neighborhood for a lot of things,” she said. “We left our neighborhood because of a lack of opportunity and a lack of resources.”

Boatright, who currently resides in Washington Heights, earned a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Illinois, Chicago and a bachelor of arts in psychology from Hamilton College in New York.